Skip to main content

Reply to this post | See parent post | Go Back
View Post [edit]

Poster: jerlouvis Date: Jul 22, 2011 9:20pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: improv style, jazz vs. classical, drama

Bkidwell,I did not take your comments as dismissive and I figured a person with your knowledge of music had to at least be acquainted with some of the major jazz figures,to what extent would have been my question. As for the free improvising style you mentioned,I don't know that it hasn't been done that way,but pure traditional jazz and free playing are not usually mixed in a straight up manner,in a way what you mention is the essence of free jazz,just maybe not so tightly structured or inclusive of traditional stylings. I will put my mind to it and see if I can come up with some examples close to what you mentioned.I'm sure there is some Sun Ra or Anthony Braxton recordings in that vein.

Butch Morris is a composer and conductor of avant garde jazz and if you are not familiar you might like to google him.He has come up with a process called conduction.Conduction is a type of structured free improvisation where Morris conducts an improvising ensemble with a series of baton and hand gestures.Being familiar with the way a conductor works you might find what he is doing interesting.He has been at this since the mid-80's and I went and saw him every Monday night for about a year at a club in Manhattan where he led the David Murray Big Band,an assortment of the finest free jazz players in the world,on some mind blowing adventures.It was something to behold watching him group different individuals into improvising units creating what I would have to think was one time only music in content and sound,pure genius.Here is an example,the best I could find for now.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Thq_6oyEqxm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZD76fhz9Rk

Once again the 2nd video won't play and everything seems correct,so I added another in the hopes it might play.

This post was modified by jerlouvis on 2011-07-23 01:48:15

This post was modified by jerlouvis on 2011-07-23 01:50:54

This post was modified by jerlouvis on 2011-07-23 02:11:06

This post was modified by jerlouvis on 2011-07-23 04:20:26

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: bkidwell Date: Jul 22, 2011 9:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: improv style, jazz vs. classical, drama

Wow, this Butch Morris is really great! (Links do seem to have problems but I found some of his music just by searching his name.) Really interesting sound and texture and I can hear a ton of inner life in the ensemble. This is exciting music to me, thanks for the reference, The David Murray connection means its just two degrees of separation from the GD, also.

I also think Sun Ra's approach produces some very interesting textural contrasts within the music, also, although I've only heard a few of his recordings,

When I originally used the term "smooth" I forgot that there is an actual subgenre of jazz called "smooth jazz" so it was definitely a poorly chosen term, I was just trying to talk about drama and contrast, not meaning to imply that it all sounds bland.

I also wasn't meaning to imply that I think my personal love for drama and contrast is a general rule I think all music should follow, there are (as someone else pointed out) a lot of masterpieces even within the classical tradition that aren't based on contrast and drama. That musical language is mostly focused on central European composers from 1775-1900.

Thanks as always for your perspective, one of the best things about all the discussions on this forum is that it teaches all of us to "hear with different ears" by sharing our perceptions.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: duckpond74 Date: Jul 23, 2011 9:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: improv style, jazz vs. classical, drama

So, jerlouvis, if you are familiar with Butch Morris, have you heard and / or seen Greg Tate's Burnt Sugar? If so, curious to hear your take, and if you still are in proximity to Manhattan and Brooklyn, I'm envious that you have occasional opportunities to check them out live.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: jerlouvis Date: Jul 23, 2011 10:15am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: improv style, jazz vs. classical, drama

Yes sir DP,I am familiar with Greg Tate,he has been a music writer in the Village Voice( the alternative newspaper in NYC 40 or more years) for decades and is also a member of the Black Rock Coalition,aside from a number of different bands he has fronted over the years.I'm only familiar with Burnt Sugar through a few videos on youtube and some friends opinions who have seen them.After seeing Butch Morris do his thing with so many great musicians,in so many different forms,it is hard to compare the little I have seen of it to it's model which is Butch Morris,truth be told some of music I've heard seemed inferior due to the level of musicianship in Burnt Sugar,one piece I saw featured a sax player who did not play a single note of interest and he was featured,but as I said I have very limited exposure so there might be some fantastic Burnt Sugar out there.I still live about 30 miles from NYC on Long Island(better known as NYC Land) so it is a short hop into the city,due to some health issues,fewer and less listener friendly venues and seemingly smaller pool of out music in general my attendance has gone way down.It's good to see you get in on one these sort of jazz related threads DP,I remember you mentioning a bill with Sun Ra and Captain Beefheart that you attended,making me jealous I might add,and always hoped you would lend your perspective to some of these conversations because they would be the better for it.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: duckpond74 Date: Jul 24, 2011 9:21am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: improv style, jazz vs. classical, drama

Jerlouvis, I haven't seen all of their videos, but I have seen Burnt Sugar several times over the last few years and always found them incredible. You may want to check them out next time they play The Apollo, I've heard their shows there have been amazing.. They definitely give credit to Butch Morris for their take on his Conduction, but they are are heavily influenced by Sun Ra, Funkadelic, Miles (Bitches Brew and Silent Way time frame), Hendrix as well as Prince, and several others. Diverse influences and a band that fluctuates between 8 to 18 players - I've seen them with more than 20 on stage - makes for an ever changing and always fresh performance. I'm sure some gigs are amazing and some may feature a train wreck or two. That's the risk with conduction and improvisation. I've seen a couple of near train wrecks, not unlike out Grateful Dead, but they've always stayed on the rails. I have seen them groove for over a half hour on a theme similar to The Other One. It was an unexpected joyful noise. On a different note, what do you think of Tortoise?

You mention that Sun Ra Captain Beefheart gig at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago from Spring of '73. Did I mention that it was a triple bill with a young and very nervous John Hammond opening? He only knew he had an opening slot gig. It wasn't till he got to the venue that he saw who - and 'what' - he was opening for. He was completely freaked, but rose to the occasion and gave a good set in the end. It was actually a four set night when you count the set where Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band were joined by Sun Ra and much of his Arkestra for a set that almost seemed rehearsed the way they pulled it off - I mean that in a good way.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: jerlouvis Date: Jul 24, 2011 1:53pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: improv style, jazz vs. classical, drama

I would have been a happy man watching a Beefheart/Sun Ra collaboration in 1973 DP, you lucky dog.
I had heard of Tortoise but my only listening experience came in a project they did with Beck Hansen and Thurston Moore on Beck's website,it featured them al doing covers of Yanni's music oddly enough,if you have any interest you can go to beck.com under record club,and watch /listen to the videos of said music.
Having read Greg Tates music column over many years and seeing him at countless shows I attended,when I first heard of Burnt Sugar and it's ideology it seemed to be a very appealing situation,for a variety of reasons it just never synched up for me to catch a show,then I got a bad review or two of shows from friends and sort of put them on the backburner so to say.However I still have an interest and with your recommendation I will definitely keep them in mind.Here is that bad video I saw,I'm pretty sure you will see what I was saying as far as a useless sax solo and fairly sloppy and lame backup from the ensemble.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1hZ1t-vbms